Concord Eyeglass Ministry 2017 Results – Jefferson City

Santa Maria Acapulco – Victoria Submitted By Larry Merry

During 2017 there were 7 teams consisting of 33 different people who travelled to Mexico to conduct 6 eyeglass clinics and 2 pastors’ conferences. In total 4,000 people attended the clinics and 3,700 eyeglasses were given out. These lives were touched in a physical way with either eyeglasses, medical doctors or dental attention.

But that’s not all because we also partnered with several churches who attended each clinic and shared the good news of the gospel with all who came to the clinic. People were given the opportunity to accept this gospel if they desired and 1,000 people indicated that they did want to. These are the benefits of the ministry that will last throughout all eternity.

To those who have made a contribution to this clinic, you also share in the eternal benefits that result from this ministry. The 4,000 people who attended these clinics would all say ‘thank you’ for the sacrifice you made if they had the ability to tell you in person.

During 2018, we are again planning to hold 6 or maybe 7 eyeglass clinics in Mexico. It is so rewarding to change someone’s life with a simple pair of eyeglasses! Thank you to the many individuals who have supported this ministry over the years. A special thanks to Saving Sight and Missouri Lions Clubs for collecting thousands of eyeglasses and making them available to give away in Mexico and other countries. Without the aid of these people and these organizations the recipients would live their entire life without the ability to have good vision. 

Below are a few stories about some of the people we saw this year. 

(L-R: Ropina Olivares; Yahualica Family; Alica Rodrigues; The village of Patla.)

San Felipe Uslia - Ropina

Ropina Olivares is 95 years old. She walked to the eyeglass clinic to receive her very first pair of glasses. She has needed glasses for a long time but says she has never had enough money to buy them. Her husband died many years ago and now she lives with her son because she cannot see well enough to live independently. When asked why she came for glasses her reply is “because I really want to sew again.” She hand made the colorful dress she is wearing but can no longer see well enough to sew without glasses. She also wants to be able to cook and clean house again with her glasses. She was born and raised in the same town and in 95 years has never traveled outside this town. She doesn’t have a TV or phone and she lives a quiet life. She is fun to talk to. She opened her mouth to show us she did not have any teeth at all. When asked what she eats she says, “well only soft food of course.” What makes her most happy now is going to church. She walks there every Sunday.

Yahualica

This whole family (plus a brother not pictured) came to the clinic and all received their first pair of eyeglasses.  The father in the middle is Fransisco Aguado and is 92 years old. The mother in the middle is Maria Luisa and is 86 years old.  The daughter on the left is 63 year-old Maria Elena and the other daughter is 66 year-old Andrea.  All of the women sew their own clothes. Maria Luisa made her dress and her husband’s outfit. Fransisco still works in the fields using a machete to care for the crops of corn and coffee. All of the family members were born in Yahualica and have lived here their whole life.  They have never traveled outside this area. They are all from the indigenous Nahuatl tribe and speak the Nahuatl language. They have more than 30 grandchildren and don’t have any idea how many great-grandchildren.

Yahualica – Alicia

Alicia Rodrigues hand made the dress she is wearing. She is 80 years old and widowed.  She is from the indigenous Nahuatl tribe. Alicia lives in the village of Patla, which is just down the mountain from the town where the eyeglass clinic was held. She walked 1 ½ hours halfway up the side of a tall mountain to come to the clinic. Alicia sells potted plants and handmade clothes as a means of making money. She has never traveled outside the village area where she lives.

Santa Maria Acapulco – Victoria

This is Victoria. She is 76 years old and just received her first pair of eyeglasses. Her vision was so poor she had to be led to the table and chair where Santina Passetti could wait on her. As she sat at the table she could not see Santina’s face across the table, but rather could only make out her form.  It was such a thrill when she put on her glasses for the first time. A big smile come across her face, she looked at Santina and exclaimed “oh she’s a white girl!” Then she looked at the other team members and said “look at all the white people!” The town we were in was very remote and it is rare that white people ever go there. She was so appreciative and such a joy to serve. She left the clinic with a big smile and seeing things she had not seen in years. It is an awesome experience to touch someone’s life is such a profound way.